Thursday, February 11, 2021

Wakelet Adds Reactions

Wakelet is a service that continues to add useful features for teachers and students. One of the ways that I like to use Wakelet is to have students share things that they've learned during the week. This week Wakelet added a new feature that let's you quickly give feedback to your students and for students to give feedback to each other. That new feature is called Reactions. With Wakelet Reactions you and your students can give feedback in the forms of thumbs-up emojis, smiles, similar positive reactions. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to use Wakelet's new Reactions feature. 



Applications for Education
Using reactions is a quick and easy way to provide some feedback to your students when they post in a Wakelet collection. In this blog post I outlined five ways that you can use Wakelet in your classroom.

Watch this video to learn how to start using Wakelet.

How to Create Animated Valentine's Day Cards

On Wednesday I shared a video about how to make edible glass candy hearts. That activity could get messy in your classroom or kitchen. If you're looking for a digital Valentine's Day activity, consider creating animated Valentine's Day cards. 

Canva offers free templates for creating greeting cards for all occasions including Valentine's Day. Many of those templates can be quickly turned into animated GIFs with just one click. In this short video I demonstrate how to create an animated Valentine's Day card by using Canva's free greeting card templates. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How to Edit Master Slides in Google Slides

Twice in the last week I've received questions from readers about Google Slides. In both cases the questions were related to using fonts and color schemes without having to manually change them for every new slide added to a presentation. The solution in both cases was to change the master slides in the presentation. 

Editing the master slides in a presentation allows you to essentially set a default font style, font size, and font color for your presentation slides. Additionally, you can choose background color(s) scheme and add icons that you want to have inserted every time you add a new slide to your presentation. 

How to edit the master slides and re-use them in your Google Slides presentations is demonstrated in this short video

Edible Glass Hearts and Other Lessons About Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is this coming Sunday. My daughter's preschool is having a little celebration on Friday during which little cards will be exchanged. She's very excited about Valentine's Day as is her little sister. As I write this they're making Valentine's Day cookies (with supervision). Another Valentine's Day activity that they could be doing (with supervision) is making edible glass hearts with isomalt crystals. 

Making edible glass hearts is the topic of the latest SciShow Kids video. The video begins by explaining how glass is made before moving into an explanation of how sugar, like sand, can be melted. The video then explains why isomalt is used to make edible glass hearts (melting point) and how it can be done at home with the supervision of a parent. Like all SciShow Kids videos the description includes lots of links to additional resources including this one that has written directions


If you're looking to work a little Valentine's Day themed activity into your middle school or high school classes in the next couple of days, here are three good videos to consider viewing.

Why Do We Love? is a TED-Ed lesson that explores some philosophies on why people love. The lesson won't provide you with any clear answers, but it will make you think. And isn't that what philosophers want you to do?



The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friends who teach middle school and high school health classes.


The following fun video, also from It's Okay to Smart, attempts to use math to determine the odds of a 25 year old woman finding love in New York. (Remember, the video is just for fun).

70 Lesson Plans About WWII

A few years ago I visited the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. If ever have a chance to visit, take it! I spent about five hours in the museum and I would have spent ten hours in it if I'd had the time. I wish that every student could visit the National WWII Museum, but that's not possible. Fortunately, the museum does offer some good online resources for teachers and students. 

The National WWII Museum's online resources include seventy lesson plans and more than fifty distance learning videos. The lesson plans are available for free to any teacher who registers for a free account on the museum's WWII Classroom website

The WWII Classroom lesson plans are divided into five thematic sections. Those sections are War in Europe, War in the Pacific, The Home Front, Real World Science, and Liberation & Legacy. All of the lesson plans are available to download as PDFs. Many of the lesson plans include the use of primary sources. In those cases the PDFs include digital copies of the primary sources to distribute to your students. The lesson plans also include links to additional supporting resources like videos and audio files. 

In addition to the lesson plans available on the WWII Classroom lesson plan pages you'll find related videos if you scroll to the bottom of the page. The videos, like the lesson plans, are organized into the themes of War in Europe, War in the Pacific, The Home Front, Real World Science, and Liberation & Legacy.

With a free account on the WWII Classroom site you can save resources in your account for quick access at any time. Unfortunately, there aren't any direct integrations with popular learning management systems so you'll have to manually upload or link to resources in the LMS that your school uses.